Why do Indians Flock to Social Networks? Just for Friends?

sholay-friendshipBy now, you and I have sort of realized that most of the social network startup in India are losing out to Orkut.

While reasons could vary from one startup to the other, it’s really important to understand why Indians use social networks.

As per Nielsen’s research,

  • 82 % want to keep in touch with people they know,
  • 58 % join a social networking site to reconnect with old acquaintances they have lost touch with,
  • 53 % sign up to make friends
  • 43 % cite professional networking as a reason.

The 53% who want to make friends are obviously part of the desperate-for-dating gang members, but the rest of the stat is important for one reason:

To understand What is it that Indians do not use a social network for?
The answer, as I understand is “Hanging out”..

Unlike the US kids who spend a good amount of time on myspace hanging around and “expressing themselves”, Indians aren’t the usual hangout (or ‘cool’?) kind, and instead use socionet for a defined purpose.

Now, this obviously goes against several socionet startups’ mantra (who want Indians to express themselves by uploading cool pics/videos and more..) and a clear reason why few of them have folded (like jhoom.in) and others are almost on the verge of (more on that later).

Mystery solved.

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